Are Japanese sentences (horizontal) to be read/interpreted from left to right or right to left? For e.g: the word "Inshoku" when read from left to right, means Drink and food, but the translation read "Food and Drink".

  • 2
    You ask about sentences but use a word as an example. Words are tricky because they can use either Chinese order (left to right) or Japanese order (right to left). And your example is special because it has an arbitrary order (just like 'drink and food' and 'food and drink' would have the same meaning, if not the same frequency of use). Mar 30, 2019 at 7:49

1 Answer 1

  1. The translation will not always follow the thought-order of the original word
  2. 飲食{いんしょく} is not two words in Japanese, it is one word(熟語{じゅくご})
  3. As a phrase in English, "Food and Drink" is more commonly used than "Drink and Food"
  4. Horizontal Japanese can be read either from left-to-right (as in English) or right-to-left, depending on context
  5. When horizontal Japanese is read right-to-left it is actually being written as top-to-bottom, right-to-left (each top-to-bottom line has just a single character at the top) - This functions like a bold title and is most often seen in scrolls or in temple decorations

You can type 扁額 into Google to see many examples of this type of decoration.

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